Foundation funds programs for uninsured
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Princeton, N.J., has awarded 14 communities three-year grants to provide health care services to residents without insurance. The one-time grants, which average $700,000, were provided by the Communities in Charge: Financing and Delivering Health Care to the Uninsured program (CIC).
According to Judith Whang, senior program officer for RWJF, local communities increasingly are expected to provide health care to the uninsured. The grant program provides financial and technical assistance to local governments to organize insurance services. The program also will help communities monitor access to and quality of services, and it will spread financial risk among providers.
CIC, directed by Cleveland-based Medimetrix, received 100 applications for the grants, which were reviewed by a national advisory committee. Qualifying communities were required to have a population of at least 250,000, with 15 percent of their residents classified as low-income and uninsured.
After selection, the communities began the first of two phases. During Phase I, the communities participated in planning efforts. One county, Spokane, Wash., developed the Inland Northwest in Charge Initiative, which will expand the services of Health for All, a local organization that helps enroll uninsured residents in government subsidized insurance programs.
“We estimate that there are 100,000 uninsured people here, and Health for All helps about 36 percent of them,” says Daniel Baumgarten, program director for the Health Improvement Partnership of Spokane County. The grant money will assist in identifying other uninsured persons and offering improved access to health care services.
During Phase II, the communities will implement their plans. Grant awards for Phase II work will depend on successful completion of Phase I. In addition, applicants must secure matching funds for the second phase of the project.
RWJF hopes to consolidate and distribute information from the project. “We’re working out how to share the information and learn from the programs so others can develop similar programs,” says Terry Stoller, national program director for RWJF.
For more information about CIC, visit www.communitiesincharge.org.